Scripture: John 4:43-54
When the two days were over, he went from that place to Galilee (for Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in the prophet’s own country). When he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, since they had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the festival; for they too had gone to the festival. Then he came again to Cana in Galilee where he had changed the water into wine. Now there was a royal official whose son lay ill in Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my little boy dies.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started on his way. As he was going down, his slaves met him and told him that his child was alive. So he asked them the hour when he began to recover, and they said to him, “Yesterday at one in the afternoon the fever left him.” The father realized that this was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he himself believed, along with his whole household. Now this was the second sign that Jesus did after coming from Judea to Galilee.
Today, we read of Jesus’ second sign in the Gospel of John. There are seven total, and the first occurred when Jesus turned the water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana. There’s even a brief mention of that experience in this passage. Like all the signs of John, each is meant to reveal something about the nature of Jesus Christ. The first testified to his ability to provide in abundant ways. This healing story shows that Jesus is the giver of life. Unlike many of his miracles elsewhere, in this one Jesus doesn’t even need to be physically present. He simply responds to the plea of this royal official. Jesus shows that his power is vast and strong.
I think the lesson we should take away from this passage, though, comes from this royal official. In him, we see the power of intercession. Intercession, put simply, is intervening on behalf of someone else. Intercession has been a part of the church since it’s very beginning. In church we often have intercessory prayer where we lift up the names of people in need before God. We pray on behalf of worldwide violence like that in the Middle East and in Ukraine. We intercede in prayer for those in West Africa suffering under this outbreak of Ebola. Intercessory prayer is a practice each of us should take up. However, what this official shows us is that intercession must also be active and present. Sometimes intercession requires us getting up and going straight to the place where help can be found. Oftentimes being an intercessor requires that we vocalize places of need in the world and also seek the remedy at the same time. Like this court official shows, intercession might require us to beg and plead. It might demand that we enter into the places of unrest and struggle. But if we do, we can be rest assured from this passage that Jesus hears us. Our prayers and our actions won’t go in vain.
God of mercy, give me a heart for your people that I may speak up for those who have been left without a voice of their own. Amen.
Thought for the Day:
Don’t be timid in standing in for others. They need you, and God wants you to fill that void.